Speedy Latin America, Slow Europe? – Regional Implementation Processes of the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers

After the International Labour Conference in 2011 voted with a great majority for Convention 189 “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” the expectations were high. – Expectations that the ratification process would start right away; and expectations that the rights of all domestic workers, including (undocumented) migrants, would be brought an important step forward. Trade unions and domestic worker organisation initiated campaigns such as the “12 by 12” campaign aiming for 12 ratifications in 2012. As the paper takes, in addition to a general assessment, a specific look at the role of migrants’ rights, I borrow from Tanya Basok the distinction between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic human rights and systematise the convention along those lines. In a second step I analyse the ’12 by 12’ campaign in two regions, Asia and Latin America, and one case, Germany, and draw first conclusions about different ratification pathways. Concerning the rights of migrant domestic workers I argue that the convention is clearly not an international labour migration instrument and that the migration dimension is so far neglected in the ratification processes. However, in the long run and in different ways, it can be used for the promotion of migrant domestic workers rights.